T&D: Combating Birth Order Nonsense in the T&D Profession

A Few Weeks Ago

I saw some tips on how to use Birth Order as part of a T&D Icebreaker. It was posted by one of our key sources (supposedly) for good practices in the T&D domain.

As my Bullshit Meter was – as always – set to high gain – it immediately went off.

And I went on to The Google to search. It was way too easy to find research that disputes this notion of Birth Order having some other meaning or value – other than, as at our house, determining who gets to go first or last in family events.

From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4655522/#

Examining the effects of birth order on personality

The question of whether a person’s position among siblings has a lasting impact on that person’s life course has fascinated both the scientific community and the general public for >100 years. By combining large datasets from three national panels, we confirmed the effect that firstborns score higher on objectively measured intelligence and additionally found a similar effect on self-reported intellect.


However, we found no birth-order effects on extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, or imagination. This finding contradicts lay beliefs and prominent scientific theories alike and indicates that the development of personality is less determined by the role within the family of origin than previously thought.

Can Our Professional Sources Please Quit Embarrassing Themselves – And The Rest Of Us?


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